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Threshold - Extinct Instinct CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.67 | 145 ratings

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Symphonic Team
5 stars My instinct is not extinct!

I first fell in love with the voice of Damian Wilson when I heard him singing for Rick Wakeman, first on the great studio album Out There (which, in my opinion, is Rick Wakeman's best studio album in many, many years), and then on the very good live DVD Rick Wakeman's New English Rock Ensemble - Live In Buenos Aires (despite a couple of slight vocal mistakes by Wilson there). When I found out that Wilson had previously been in a band called Threshold I decided to check them out. I was not disappointed! (It is not entirely unlikely that this album influenced Rick Wakeman to pick Wilson out for the band!?)

By now I have heard all the other albums by Threshold as well, but Extinct Instinct remains by far the best one they ever did in my opinion. My decision to start with this album was, as I have already hinted at, the presence of Damian Wilson (who only sings on two Threshold albums; this one and the debut). But there was also something about the cover art that drew my attention. The fallen stone cross reminded me very much of Black Sabbath's Headless Cross album and the old Nordic look on the cover reminded me of that same bands' TYR album (both much underrated albums and personal favourites of mine, especially the former). I went by my own instinct and got this album! And indeed, Extinct Instinct has some similarities with Black Sabbath in the heavy riff-based parts and the thundering bass guitar that sometimes reminds of Geezer Butler's style. However, Threshold is a much more melodious and also much more progressive band.

Since Threshold is sometimes known as 'the British Dream Theater', I must mention them as well. There are indeed some similarities here, especially with the brilliant Images And Words but I would not say that Threshold are copying Dream Theater by any means. Compared to Dream Theater, the sound of Threshold is more based on melody and riffs than instrumental workouts. The Jazz/Rock Fusion-influence which is sometimes strong in Dream Theater's music is not so here. Threshold also seems largely oblivious of American Trash Metal (an influence that often dominates Dream Theater's sound far too much in my opinion). The sound of Extinct Instinct is perhaps closer to classic British Heavy Metal with strong influences from the harder edged side of Neo-Prog and a bit of more melodious forms of metal.

Extinct Instinct features very strong material with a well-balanced mix between heavy riffs, tempo-changes, (acoustic) ballads and great keyboard and guitar solos. The keyboards are largely organ and symphonic synthesisers in the background with some piano parts and occasionally some synthesiser solos. The musicianship is very strong but you never get the feeling that they are just showing off (which is the case with some Prog-Metal). Karl Groom is a great guitarist. It is hard to pick out favourite tracks since this is a very consistent and even album with not a single weak track in my opinion. But the softer songs like Forever and Clear really create a very nice contrast to the heavier songs which lifts the whole album.

This is clearly one of my favourite progressive Metal albums together with Dream Theater's Images And Words, Shadow Gallery's Carved In Stone, and Symphony X's The Divine Wings Of Tragedy. I initially rated Extinct Instinct with four stars, but this album has stood up very well to the ravages of time and I have updated my rating to five stars. Very highly recommended!

SouthSideoftheSky | 5/5 |


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